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Hello! My name is Candace, and I’m a sketch artist with a passion for helping you connect with the world through art. Pull out your sketchbook and watercolors and find your favorite view — I’m glad you’re here!

Uruguay sketch

“The desire to go home that is a desire to be whole, to know where you are, to be the point of intersection of all the lines drawn through all the stars, to be the constellation-maker and the center of the world, that center called love.”

— Rebecca Solnit

One year ago today, I woke up in the beautiful city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. I had just spent two weeks there — studying Spanish, getting to know my neighborhood of San Telmo, and even taking my first tango lesson. But as much as I enjoyed my time in the city, those two weeks in Buenos Aires felt like a prelude to what had really drawn me to the southern half of South America.

Finally, after all those Spanish classes and tango lessons, it was time for the main event: I was moving to Uruguay.

And so it was that on a sunny Monday morning last September — September 26th, to be exact — I woke up in Buenos Aires, packed my backpack, sprinted through the cobblestoned streets of San Telmo, boarded the ferry that would take me across the Rio de la Plata river flowing between Argentina and Uruguay, and arrived on Uruguayan soil for the first time.

Now, all that was left was a three-hour bus ride from the charming town of Colonia to Uruguay’s capital city, Montevideo. There, my boyfriend José would be meeting me at the bus terminal. Three hours have never felt so long. There wasn’t wifi on the bus, so I tried to pass the time by chatting with my seatmate and staring out the window at the countryside moving past us, the sweeping fields dotted with cows (“It almost looks like Ireland, but with palm trees,” I scribbled in my notebook).

As luck would have it, the bus made our three-hour journey in two, rolling into Montevideo an hour early. It felt like a promising beginning to my time in Uruguay.

Uruguay sketch

*   *   *

If you had asked me two years ago to show you where Uruguay is on a map, I’m not sure I could have done so with full confidence. I think I can remember reading about the country back in 2014, when I was planning my first trip to South America. I briefly considered visiting Brazil, and one of the many websites or travel guides I came across suggested heading south to Uruguay, to enjoy the country’s gorgeous beaches and coastline.

My friends, I’m pretty sure that was the extent of my poor knowledge of Uruguay. It just wasn’t a country that came up on my radar very often. But that all changed on another fateful day last year — April 14th, 2016.

As you might remember, I spent the spring of 2016 (the Northern Hemisphere spring, that is) hiding out above the Arctic Circle, on the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway. I was working on a book at the time, so I viewed my ten weeks on Lofoten as a kind of self-funded writing retreat, my days falling into a quiet rhythm of reading, writing, and long walks along the coast.

I spent my first two weeks on Lofoten in what I still consider to be the most magical hostel in the world:

Norway sketch

Then, I moved into a red wooden artists’ house called the Kunstnerhuset. I grew accustomed to the other travelers and artists passing through the house, who were usually Western European and often older than myself. 

So when I emerged from my room in the artists’ house one morning, looked into the living room, and saw José sitting there with his backpack still on, I did a double-take. First and foremost, he was young…but he was also tall, dark-haired, and — I noticed with some regret — attractive. I noticed this with regret because I happened to still be in my pajamas, without so much as a speck of make-up on my face. I was in no state to be meeting tall, attractive travelers in the Arctic Circle.

As soon as José saw me in the hallway, on my way to the bathroom, he asked me where the house’s reception area was. I showed him with barely a squeak of a hello, before scurrying back into my room. When José and I met again in the kitchen that night — me finally showered and dressed — we swapped names and home countries.

“I’m from Uruguay,” José said. “In South America.”

“What part of Uruguay?” I asked him, as though I were intimately familiar with the country’s geography.

Once I was back in my room after dinner, I opened up a virtual sticky note I kept on my laptop, where I would write quick little notes about things that happened during my journey. I’ll always love looking back on what I wrote after meeting José:

Thursday, 14 April 2016.

“Just met José from URUGUAY — so random, from Montevideo. He just graduated six months ago in architecture, wants to work in either Copenhagen or Stockholm. His father works in the Congo, so he started his trip there as well. I love it that life surprises us, when we least expect it. It’s so easy to get lost in my own world here; how wonderful to be reminded of how big our world is just now.”

Northern Lights sketch

*   *   *

“I love it that life surprises us, when we least expect it…”

Although I had no way of knowing it at the time, this sentence would later prove to be a perfect encapsulation of my relationship with José. After my time in the artists’ house, where my path crossed with José’s for a week, I returned to the aforementioned ‘most magical hostel in the world’ for my final month on Lofoten. I’d also told José about the hostel, and when I arrived at night by ferry, he was already sitting in the common area, having come earlier in the day by bus.

My next surprise was realizing how happy I was to see him there.

So, too, was I surprised by how much we had in common. On a map, José and I were from completely different parts of the world, but it didn’t take long to discover an impressive number of shared interests: We both loved photography and were traveling with bulky DSLR cameras, and we also loved to sketch and draw.

Neither of us seemed to mind being alone all day, working on our respective projects (me on a book and José on his architecture portfolio) and then coming together at night to share simple dinners. We played the guitar, played a card game called Pounce (which we renamed Trolls, because Norway!), watched episodes of Vikings, stopped whatever we were doing to watch (and photograph) the sunset each evening, and even joined our village’s celebrations of Norway’s national day on the 17th of May.

Most surprising of all for me, I found myself taking fewer solo walks along the coast and inviting José to join me more often. I loved these walks, whether they simply led to our village supermarket a kilometer away or to somewhere further afield.

Once, as I sat writing in the hostel’s common room, José caught me staring out the window, which overlooked a small harbor.

“Looking for inspiration?” he asked.

“I just love having water outside my window,” I shared with him.

“In our apartment in Uruguay,” José said, “we have an amazing view of the Rio de la Plata in Montevideo — we’re just renting it, but I can’t imagine ever leaving. The water has become like a reference for me. If I’m in the middle of the continent, I have to find a river or something to feel myself again.”

With José, it didn’t feel like I was giving up the solitude that had led me to Lofoten; rather, it felt like I had found a beautiful soul to share my solitude with.

Norway sunset

The first sunset José and I captured together in Svolvær, Norway.

Sharing one last simple lunch in the fishing village of Stamsund.

Norway Day breakfast

The delightful breakfast José and I were invited to join on the morning of Norway Day.

Showing a little love for my adored home-away-from-home in Stamsund.

As they say in Norway, “Gratulerer med dagen!”

*   *   *

When I sat down to write this post, in honor of my first “Uruguay-versary,” I didn’t anticipate sharing so much of our backstory — but as soon as I started thinking back on those first weeks of getting to know José and learning about his home country, it was hard to discern where Norway ended and Uruguay began.

I will always love that about our story: That what began as a single, clearly defined journey to the Lofoten Islands, soon led me in directions I never expected to go — in the world, in life, and in love itself. I even wrote this in a card to José as I prepared to leave Lofoten. I wrote about how saying goodbye to him didn’t feel like an ending, but a beginning. And I believed that what we had found together in Norway could exist elsewhere — I knew, in a very deep part of my heart, that we had found something real.

This knowledge made everything that happened after Norway feel a little less crazy and a little more like kismet. We reunited a few weeks later in Paris, for my 30th birthday. On our first day in Paris, José asked me to be his girlfriend; on our last day in Paris, mere minutes before I left for the airport, José told me he loved me.

Favorite discovery in Paris = stumbling across a pop-up Aperol Spritz bar in Buttes-Chaumont park.

Making one of my childhood dreams come true at Giverny…

…where I even got to follow in Monet’s footsteps and sketch his iconic Japanese bridge.

José’s lovely sketch of the gardens at Giverny…

France sketch

…and my own.

Then, just two days after I returned to the U.S., we began asking each other a question that was as scary as it was exciting:

“What’s next?”

I suggested housesitting — something that other nomadic couples I know have done to give themselves a base while keeping costs down — and for a few days, José and I had fun poring through listings, dreaming about housesits in Bulgaria and Romania. But then, exactly one week after we said goodbye in Paris, an unexpected text from José popped up on my phone that afternoon:

“Babe — what if we moved to Montevideo instead?”

I knew immediately that all of our conversations about what was next were over — this was what we were supposed to do. As fun as a cabin in the mountains of Romania could have been, Uruguay suddenly felt like the most obvious next step.

I already knew that José and I enjoyed exploring a new country together — now, I wanted to get to know his culture, and even more importantly, his community.

*   *   *

As I sit here now, with the hindsight of an entire year in Uruguay behind me, I can only laugh about my desire to meet José’s community — because of how swiftly the universe answered my intention.

As soon as that interminably long bus ride from Colonia to Montevideo ended one year ago today, José met me at the bus station and we went directly to his family’s apartment — the very same apartment he’d first told me about in Norway, with the expansive Rio de la Plata river flowing in front of it. There, I met his parents and sister, before we all went over to the house of one of his aunts, where I met his aunt and uncle and their two adorable children, José’s youngest cousins.

By the end of the next day, I’d met both sets of his endearing grandparents (with only some mild confusion with José’s paternal grandfather, who made the very understandable mistake of thinking I was Norwegian). I met more aunts and uncles, more cousins, and I even attended what would be my first of many birthday parties here — all within 24 hours of arriving. As the air buzzed with rapid-fire Spanish around me, I wished I’d had twice as long in Buenos Aires to keep brushing up on the language.

Slowly, the intensity of those first weeks in Montevideo subsided. José and I were able to settle into new daily rhythms, just as we’d loved doing together in Norway. And I got to work on a few freelance projects and story assignments — about places such as San Francisco, Guatemala, and Peru.

But I didn’t feel ready to write about Uruguay yet. Instead, I let my sketchbook do the talking:

40 Days of Moments sketching challenge

From the very beginning, Uruguay felt too big, too weighty, for me to immediately process into stories and blog posts. My arrival here was one giant leap into the deep-end of José’s world and family, and it took time for me to find my own footing here.

Finally, six months after my arrival, I wrote about the country for the first time for G Adventures’ blog — a collection of sketches I called “An Illustrated Love Letter to Uruguay.” One month later, I started working on an illustrated essay for Longreads called “Home is a Cup of Tea,” which tells the story of my search for home through the different teas I discovered while traveling.

Yerba mate tea plays a starring role in Uruguayan culture, so I didn’t have to think twice about how to fit Uruguay into the story; it was practically meant to be a part of it. Even still, I’d been writing about the idea of home for years — especially my own journey to find home in the world — so once I got started on my story for Longreads, I specifically remember the moment I opened up my notebook of ideas and wrote at the top of a new page:

“What has Uruguay added to the narrative?”

Which was essentially my way of asking, “What has Uruguay taught me about home that I never learned before?”

If you’ve had a chance to read “Home is a Cup of Tea,” then you’ll know that time is a big theme running through the story. Feeling at home in a new place doesn’t always happen instantaneously. Home, Uruguay taught me, takes time. But there’s one more lesson about home Uruguay has taught me, that I’d like to share with you today — only it isn’t about finding home in any particular place.

It’s about the greatest homecoming of all — coming home to ourselves.

A few months after moving to Uruguay, I sat in our living room one day, with a warm mug of coffee and my notebook of ideas open in front of me. After a few long sips and a few more moments of staring out the window, I began to write:

“It’s a quiet Tuesday morning in Montevideo, and I couldn’t be more grateful to be writing from a place in full view of the river. To have the presence of moving water fill my window again, just as it did in Norway, is a blessing. I am coming home to myself in a way I didn’t even know I needed to…”

I stopped writing at that moment, because the more I thought about the harbor outside the hostel’s curtained windows in Norway, the more I was reminded of other favorite places where water had also filled the view outside my window. There was Vashon Island near Seattle, where the beautiful home I had the chance to stay in was built right on the shores of Quartermaster Harbor:

There was the little house I’d rented for six weeks along Lake Atitlán in Guatemala:

And there was the yurt I’d lived in on Salt Spring Island in Canada — well, the yurt didn’t *technically* overlook water, but the coast was only a short walk away:

At the time, I had thought of these places as creative retreats — they were places I went to think deeply and work hard on book projects. But on that quiet morning in Montevideo, I suddenly began to view these retreats in a different light.

I realized that every retreat was always preceded by a season of intense movement and travel. I realized that for years, I’d built my life around the same pattern: I would travel and move until I burnt myself out, finally acknowledging that I needed to slow down, catch my breath, and be still for a while. Finally, I realized that pattern wasn’t exactly a healthy or sustainable one — and so I picked up my pen and kept writing:

“It feels good to be shaking that pattern up — it’s time for a change. I want to build a life of creative wholeness and balance for myself that I don’t need to run away from to do my best creative work.”

When I wrote those words last December, I didn’t necessarily know what creative wholeness would look like on a day-to-day basis. But just a few weeks later, José started his first architecture job here in Montevideo, which has him working from 8:30am-6:30pm every weekday. For the first time as a freelancer, I decided to start holding myself to the same work schedule, instead of staying up all hours of the night — and I especially decided to stop working so much on the weekends, making more room in my life for downtime and rest (which research has proven can be quite beneficial when it comes to productivity and creativity).

Now, when I sit down at my desk in the mornings, I love having finite blocks of time to work in. It keeps me more engaged with each task, just as I always felt during each creative retreat when there were fewer interruptions. It has also inspired new ideas I never expected to explore; I’ve experimented more in my storytelling, just like I did in my essay for Longreads, and in January, I took another big leap and started a sketching challenge that has since grown into our beloved Moment Sketchers community.

But at the same time, I love having more boundaries and balance to my days now — that as the clock inches its way to 6:30 or 7pm every afternoon, I feel a slight rush of pressure to finish what I’m working on, since my workday will soon be ending. 

Now, when José walks in the door at night, I love closing my laptop and shifting my energy. I love that we’ll go and spend time with his friends or family, play more rounds of Trolls or Scrabble in Spanish, do our weekly shop at the supermarket, or listen to jazz bands at one of our favorite restaurants on Tuesday nights. Most especially, I love it when José prepares a mate and we go for a sunset walk along the Rambla — the 14-mile-long boardwalk in Montevideo that follows the coastline of the Rio de la Plata.

Just as José spoke about the river to me in Norway, it has become a point of reference for me here as well: A place to slow down, breathe, and simply be.

To feel this peace in the midst of my everyday routines is the greatest gift Uruguay has given me.

*   *   *

Friends, I must admit that this wasn’t at all the post I had in mind when I sat down to write about my one year Uruguay-versary.

I thought I would put together a neat list of things I love about Uruguay, or share the many gifts this country has given me (first and foremost, a passionate appreciation for dulce de leche and for the heavenly, dulce de leche-filled creations known as alfajores).

But what can I say? Uruguay has been surprising me ever since José walked through the door of the artists’ house in Norway last year, and so I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised that even the shape of this post went in an unforeseen direction. And in no way has Uruguay been a neat and tidy journey for me. As I shared with you earlier in this post, it has been big and messy, all in very good ways. It has overwhelmed me, fascinated me, brought me to tears, and made me laugh (especially at myself).

Ultimately, Uruguay has taught me so much about love. I’ve learned about the love you share within a family, being there for the people in your life. I’ve learned about the love you share with your partner, as you create the rhythms that will shape your days and ever so slowly build a life together. And most surprisingly, I’ve learned how to love myself better — honoring my need for solitude and quiet space to work in creatively, even while staying connected to a community.

I will always be grateful for the red wooden artists’ house where my path first crossed with José’s — but I’m even more grateful that our story didn’t end there.

I love that it brought me to an unexpected country called Uruguay, a place I can now call home.

In Cabo Polonio, Uruguay, on April 14th, 2017  one year after our paths first crossed in Norway.

With my dear new Uruguayan family…all smiles on the beaches of José Ignacio.

And yours truly, making room for a little sun and solitude in Cabo Polonio…thank you for one heck of a year, Uruguay!

*   *   *

  • Angela Hennessy

    Sat eating my lunch here in Yorkshire, and reading this lovely post Candace that just popped into my inbox. Wishing so much more love, growth and gratitude in the next phase of your Uruguayan life. Have a good day x

    • Thank you so much, dear Angela! Growth and gratitude are absolutely two perfect words to describe this past year in Uruguay for me, so I really appreciate your kind words and wishes. It’s been such a blessing getting to know you this year, and I can’t wait to keep following your own creative journey 🙂 xx

  • absolutely lovely!

  • Didn’t want this to end! Have spent a lot of time in Uruguay, such an underrated destination!!! Would love to live there one day.

    • Thank you, Andi! I loved hearing that you’ve spent so much time in Uruguay, and it would be wonderful if our paths crossed here sometime 🙂 I hope you and your family are doing so well!

  • I’m so happy for you Candace. I love how every post of yours is brimming with beautiful heartfelt words, they are as special as your watercolors and they always brighten my day. Happy one year in Uruguay 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Nikki–they mean the world! I’m thrilled to hear you enjoyed this post, and especially that you enjoyed the mix of words and watercolors 🙂 Hope you’re having a wonderful week so far! <3

  • Pauline Susanto

    Congratulations on the anniversary Candace. I loved reading this 🙂 I recently read a quote that says something like “Embrace uncertainties. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have titles until much later” and I think it’s proven true with the experience you shared in your post today. As always, thank you for sharing.

    • Pauline, I can’t thank you enough for sharing that quote–I already know that’s going to be a new favorite of mine 🙂 And I just did a quick Google search and it’s by author Bob Goff: “Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later.” What a perfect quote to hold onto during uncertainty–thank you, Pauline! <3

  • Judy Tomlin

    I loved reading this, and am grateful to you for sharing so much of your personal story! Beautiful story, beautiful words, beautiful sketches. Thank-you!

    • Thank you so much, Judy! I’m just as grateful to hear this story resonated with you, so I really appreciate you letting me know 🙂 Can’t wait to sketch with you again in just a couple of weekends’ time! <3

  • Rosie L

    Beautiful post! I also read the links you posted and was blown away by your “Home is a cup of tea.” How incredibly beautiful. We’ve moved a lot and I hope that I’m providing some sense of “home” for my husband and children. I loved the equation of home = relationships + rhythms + happiness + familiarity. Happy anniversary!

    • Dear Rosie, thank you so much for your kind words here! I was especially thrilled to hear that “Home is a Cup of Tea” and the equation of home resonated with you. I’m now even working on turning the story into a full-length illustrated book project, so I hope I might be able to share that with you soon as well 🙂 Thank you again, and I hope you and your family will continue finding home in each other. <3

  • Not only is it wonderful to read your gorgeous story Candace through your descriptive writing style but also feel the obvious love that comes through for the communities that have absorbed you, and watching how it has developed your style as a writer and artist. Our Moment Sketchers community has become so much richer through getting to ‘know’ you a little better and also my new Instagram friends.
    I love how you mention about ‘coming home to ourselves’ and making time to relax and enjoy loved ones. I have drastically changed my career path this year due to people like you and finally having a tutor/mentor to help me through the writing process. I never knew how difficult and enjoyable it could be at the same time. Your words already gave a beautiful description of your surroundings without your sketches but they are a magic addition. Beautiful story, it’s a movie in the making, Candace!! 🦄😭🌺❤️

    • Dear Victoria–I can’t begin to tell you how much your kind words mean to me here…thank you so much for taking the time to share them with me! I especially loved how you phrased “the communities that have absorbed you”–that’s a truly wonderful way to describe my experience here in Uruguay, and I feel the same about our own beloved Moment Sketchers community. I love how open we are and that we’re always waiting to absorb the next artist who discovers our tribe 🙂 Finally, please know how thrilled I am for the major changes you’re making in your life, both personally and vocationally. I know it isn’t at all easy to shift directions like that, and I can’t wait to keep following along your progress and creative processes! Sending much love and gratitude to you today <3

  • Cheri Lucas Rowlands

    So enjoyed reading this. In some ways it reminds me of my own journey of finding home, and how I met Nick. Such a lovely read with beautiful illustrations and sketches.

    • Thank you so much, Cheri! That means the world coming from you, as I’ve learned so much reading about your own journey to find home in the world and in love. I hope you and Nick have a wonderful start to the autumn season, and that your garden continues to thrive 🙂

  • SO happy for you, Candace – that you’ve followed your heart, found a home, a creative routine, love, and an adoptive family! What more could we ask for, right? Cheers to a wonderful second year in Montevideo and all the new adventures, projects, and connections you’ll make along the way! 🙂

    • Brittany, please know that your wonderful words here mean so much to me–you really put it all perfectly! Please also know that I’m so sorry to be this behind on my reply to you, but that I was thrilled to hear your own amazing updates 🙂 Can’t wait to follow along this beautiful next chapter for you and Bruno!! <3

  • Kim

    What a lovely story, made even lovelier by the way you told it. I felt like it unfolded much as life does – step by step, insight by insight. I love how much your sketches capture these moments, too! I completely understand how you feel about not being able to clearly express an experience while you’re in the midst of it. It usually takes me a year or so to process my experiences living abroad (and for that matter, in other cities in the US). One thing I love about your art and writing is that you always manage to capture the timelessness of your lived experience, no matter how recent it was. With so much pressure to be “current” for so many writers, it’s easy to skip past the emotional connection that you convey so well. After all, processing deeply felt & experienced emotions takes time! As a semi-nomadic person myself who is currently considering where “home” is and where I truly want to be, I am so happy to hear that you have come home to yourself. It reminds me to keep trusting my intuition. I can’t wait to see how you continue to embrace Uruguay and it unfolds for you in this next year! PS – I loved your piece in Longreads, but for some reason Disqus marked my comment a couple of months ago as spam, so I’ll just reiterate it here. 🙂

    • Kim, I can’t thank you enough for your kind words and insights here–they were so encouraging to read! I couldn’t agree more with you about how our understanding of a particular chapter in our lives needs time…I think for the first time ever, Uruguay has showed me the power of being still and silent in the midst of major life change, and it’s given me permission not to rush the process of feeling at home here. As you said so perfectly, I think we are definitely living in an age where there’s a major rush to share our insights and thoughts, whether it’s about a place or person or project…but ever so slowly, I can feel myself becoming more and more okay with not knowing, and giving myself the time I need to reach a place of understanding. Please know I’ll be thinking of you as you continue defining home for yourself and trusting your instincts and intuition to not rush your own homecoming in life 🙂 Sending a big hug from Montevideo today! <3

  • Veena

    I loved reading this for so many reasons. First and foremost, I am thrilled to read about how happy you are and to know you are finding your place in Uruguay. I also know very little about the country, but I am glad it has embraced you and is treating you so well. I also loved reading about your relationship with living near water, because it very closely mirrors my own — I never realized it until I lived in Bombay 5 years ago, but I am always happiest when I live near a body of water. Growing up on the banks of the Mississippi really ingrained that into me, and I am so happy to have that in my life again. Candace, I hope that you continue to grow and flourish and find your path in Uruguay and that it continues to be a place that nourishes your creativity. Sending you the biggest hug from Memphis xx

    • Hello, dear Veena! Hearing from you here already brought a smile to my face–and then to get to your thought about Bombay, my smile only grew bigger 🙂 As I think I’ve shared with you before, it is absolutely my favorite city in India, and I know it absolutely has to do with the magnetic presence of water in the city. I loved hearing that you have a similar relationship with water as I do, and how wonderful to hear that it came from your childhood along the banks of the Mississippi. Please know how grateful I am for our connection, and how much I look forward to connecting with you in person one day, too! <3

  • Anica Milenković

    Dear Candace, congratulations on the new story, new life and new amazing adventures about the begin and continue. I have discovered your blog back in 2013 when my personal world pretty much collapsed and you have inspired me so much. To overcome the momentary fear, to overpass the past failures, to drop off the burden of the past and to stop overstretching myself (though this is the hardest lesson I am still repeating). I am so happy that your life story developed into direction of love and self-love in the true meaning of the word and that you are willing to share little pieces of your world with the rest of the global village. I still have your watercolor postcard from Mostar, Bosnia on my fridge and your amazing instructions for travel in South India in my inbox. I have also magnificently found someone I can share my solitude with this year and we are planning to take a trip to South India next year so we could both see the world we always wanted to see, now amazingly better in two. I wish you all the best in your new life and that love you are sharing flourishes as well as the creative work and that you continue to inspire and write and sketch and draw in the the following stages of your life. Thank you and good luck!

    • Dear Anica–what a delight it was to hear from you here! First of all, I so appreciated your kind words–it truly is amazing that we’ve been connected online for so many years now, and I was even more amazed to learn that you still have your watercolor postcard from Mostar…that made my day to hear 🙂 But what brought me the most joy was learning that you, too, have found someone to share your solitude with (and I almost teared up to hear you describe it as “magnificent”…isn’t that the way it absolutely should be?). I know there is almost no greater discovery than finding the person you can travel through life with, so I couldn’t be happier for you! And how wonderful that you’ll be able to share southern India together–I can’t wait to hear what you think 🙂 Sending the biggest hugs from Montevideo! <3

  • Treava

    Candace, congratulations is not the word I’m looking for here. It needs to be more than that. It is so wonderful to read (and see in your amazing sketches) about your beautiful journey on love, home and happiness. Your post (and story) is so eloquent and beautiful. Thank you for sharing! My mother used to have a magnet on her fridge that said: “A house is made of brick and stone but a home is made of love alone.”
    Much of what you shared in your post I can relate to. Water is huge. I have always loved being beside water. This past year this desire has been increasingly strong. I feel water heals and inspires, it feeds and it cleanses. It ebbs, it recedes. I want this everyday!!
    Sharing solitude resonates with me as well, as many people do not understand this. I think it is a very special thing, a very trusting bond. I always wanted to do things on my own until I met Juan. I am happy to hear that you and Jose share it as well!
    I love that not only you share your beautiful thoughts and words Candace, but also your stunning sketches. You always have so much to reveal and it’s always in a positive, inspiring and loving way!
    Thank you my friend!

    • Dear Treava–what a gift your words were to read here! Especially what you shared about water: “I feel water heals and inspires, it feeds and it cleanses. It ebbs, it recedes.” Yes, yes, and yes! There is something so special and profound about living close to water, especially bodies of water with tidal patterns…I think there’s just something about witnessing high and low tide every day that keeps us grounded and aware of life’s natural cycles, isn’t there? I also wanted to thank you for sharing about your own trusting bond with Juan–I loved hearing that you’re able to share your solitude with him, especially as I can understand now what a precious gift that is. It is always wonderful to hear your thoughts and insights, Treava, and please know I’m sending the biggest hug from Montevideo to Toronto today! <3

  • Kar

    This delightful story being told with an honest, endearing humor and romantic yarn, with travelling tales added as a lagniappe, I just can’t have enough of it!!! Candace, you have such a wonderful gift in capturing the pleasure of a simple moment, and weaving it in beautiful rhythms that mesmerizes my day!! Thank you so so much for sharing this.  Wishing you and Jose all the very best, and may Uruguay continue to embrace you and bless you with charming stories, fantastic sketches, and many amazing projects..sending you both biggest hugs.

    • Hello, dear Kar! Thank you so much for your delightful comment here, and for letting me know how much this story resonated with you…I was so thrilled to hear it 🙂 I am especially grateful for what you shared about me capturing the please of a “simple moment”–of all the lessons the world has taught me these past nine years, I know my life has been changed the most because of the greater contentment and happiness I now find in little moments. Not to say that I feel this contentment all the time (not by any means!), but I do love having a greater appreciation for simple moments, and not always waiting for life’s big thresholds and revelations. Thank you again for your kind and encouraging words, Kar, and please know what a blessing it was for me to read them! <3

  • Cristina Luisa

    Oh, Candace, have I ever told you how grateful I am that I met you?! Your words are brimming with happiness and eloquence. To say “congratulations” or “I’m happy for you” would do no justice to my sentiments… The universe has brought you the kindness, love, family, and home you so much deserve. Thank you for sharing your story through your words, sketches, and photographs; you are always an inspiration. Te mando un abrazo muy fuerte! Besos, amiga!

    • Cristinaaa! My friend, I can’t tell you how happy I was to hear from you here–thank you so much for taking the time to share your beautiful words and encouragement. Please know how grateful *I* am that our paths first crossed back in Spain (doesn’t it feel so much longer than just two and a half years ago??), and that I can’t wait to keep following along your own journey through the world–you must be leaving for Israel so soon, I think?! Abrazo fuerte y besote de Montevideo!! <3

  • What beautiful words and pictures to honour your first year in Uruguay, Candace. There is so much to love about this post: much of what you say -about coming home to yourself, loving yourself better, honouring your need for solitude, and that it takes time to find your footing in a new place – resonates with me. As you know, I’ve just moved from one side of Australia to another, so you words give me hope that I too will find ‘a life of creative wholeness’ here and that I will ‘come home to myself’. Thank you for your inspiring words and sketches. 🙂

    • Dear Colleen–knowing the major move you yourself have been going through these past few weeks, I was truly humbled to read that this post resonated with you and could be of some encouragement during this difficult transition. I can’t imagine leaving behind a home such as the one you and your family had to say goodbye to, but please know that you are often in my thoughts, and that I hope you will ever so slowly and surely begin to feel more and more at home in this new chapter–and even more importantly, in yourself. Sending big hugs and gratitude to you! <3

      • Thank you for your thoughts and taking the time to respond Candace – you are the biggest reason for this wonderful community. Hugs to you! :-))

        • That means so much to me, Colleen–thank you! It’s such an honor and thrill for me to see Moment Sketchers continue to grow, and I couldn’t be happier you’re a part of the tribe 🙂

  • Katie Bell

    This is beautiful Candace and I loved reading it – it actually reminds me a lot of my own story with my now fiance. We met over New Years 2015/2016 in the Philippines, traveled together as friends for a week, I kissed him on the last night then he left to go back home to the US the next day. Two and a half months later I came over to the US to be with him. We started housesitting, bought a little van together that we are converting into a camper and we recently got engaged. I have a whole new family here and everything feels so much like it is meant to be. I’m happy you have found that too in Uruguay

  • Bethany N. Bella

    Dear Candace,
    It is so lovely to read your words again. I’ve been following along, and loving how you’re loving your new Moment Sketchers community.
    But reading this excerpt made me smile to realize that we’re continuing on similar, yet separate journeys somewhere in the world. I’ve been thinking a lot about the meaning of ‘home’ and how to be at home in a body on my own Body Mind Bella blog (‘Time for the taking’ https://bethanybella.com/2017/10/01/time-for-the-taking/). I wrote “This homecoming into my own body is years in the making” (here https://bethanybella.com/2017/09/24/sit-still/) in the same month you write “the greatest homecoming of all — coming home to ourselves.”

    Even stranger/serendipitous still, I write “I’m tired of running. I’m tired of running away, running from, running towards” in the same month you write “I want to build a life of creative wholeness and balance for myself that I don’t need to run away from to do my best creative work.” I am awed and inspired by our two similar revelations in harmonious time.

    This year, you’ve discovered new things about your life and work moving to a new country, just as I’ve discovered new things about my life and attitude towards work struggling with physical and mental health challenges.
    I’m now rambling, but I just wanted to write to you again to say that I cannot believe how many times I read your blog and realize I’ve wondered the exact same thing. Case in point: The next blog in my draft box is titled “The feeling of home.”

    Cheering you on, and supporting you as a fellow travel/personal discovery blogger.
    All my best,

  • Aurora

    Heart emoji heart emoji heart emoji!!!!!!